Updated: May 30
Last Tuesday, we cried tears or felt tearful when we heard about the mass shooting of the 19 students and 2 teachers in Uvalde, Texas. Our heaviness and tears are an oft-repeated recently.
We all try to imagine the thoughts and emotions of those family members who are directly affected.
We want to massage their hearts. We want to hug them for a long time. We want to assist in some way. That is why the floral memorials develop and prayer vigils evolve.
Media coverage wanes over time, yet the pain of the incident does not wane. We need the strength of Isaiah 61:2-3 to carry us through the grief and shock:
"To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
To comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
To bestow on them a crown of beauty - instead of ashes,
The oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise
Instead of a spirit of despair (utter loss of hope)."
These verses helped me when my mom passed away in 2007. I felt as if a lead ball was tied to my legs 2 days after we buried her. I felt as if I could not focus nor move forward in life. I had prayed, but it did not seem to do any good. Life hung from a limb of a tree. I was wondering if the tree limb was even securely attached to the tree.
A church member, who was a student in my Spanish class called me to say that she felt my "heaviness". She offered me these verses. They were a lifeline for me. She did not want me to take Isaiah 61:3 wrong, since it mentioned joy when clearly - I was in mourning. When I read these verses, I thought how did praise get in that passage of Scripture when I felt such a spirit of loss?
I desired to get the heaviness off my mind since I am usually a joy-filled person. I wanted to feel like my usual self. I took my jacket off and on 7 times while I prayed these verses. I awaited the arrival of my stabilizing grace. It started dramatically accompanying me later that same day. That grace still travels with me. It is so necessary. I am sharing this point, so that those who tragically lost their loved one(s) may heal and find grace to help them in a time of need - up the road.
se who tragically lost their loved one(s) may heal and find grace to help them in a time of need - up the road.
Hebrews 4:16 (Amplified): "Therefore, let us [with privilege/boldness] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment]."
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." God is amazing. He is a "very present help" when we feel pain, anger, disillusionment, inaction, and loss.
1 Peter 5:7 (The Living Bible):
"Let Him have ALL your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you." He cares for us. We can cast ALL our CARES on Him.
Calls to Action:
Choose one verse to help you cope during this time. Read it every day aloud.
Determine how you want to engage with policymakers.
Plan how you will encourage a student who is not in the limelight.
Get Prayer Jewels from "Fully Persuaded Faith"; https://www.marilynnjames.com.